The Role of Facebook in Dividing People

2016 Election, Facebook
President Barack Obama, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, holds a town hall meeting at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California, April 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Since the 2016 US presidential elections, it has been a busy schedule for Facebook workers. The headquarters of the company that is located in Menlo Park, California has been operating in a crisis mode. The social media giant is furiously trying to contain the damages that were made by the past presidential election. The company has opted for an all-out defense campaign since the accusations were made. This is the reason why the company executives will be appearing before the congressional hearings this week to explain their role in meddling with the US elections. Facebook has implemented a number of policies that include hiring outside communications firms to cover the damages for them. As a matter of fact, the company has hired three companies for this reason. On the other hand, Facebook also used full-page adverts to try and manage its reputation. Mobilizing executives has been another strategy that has been implemented by Facebook. This involves Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg. All these efforts have been geared to address the accusation that the company failed in preventing Russians from using their systems to manipulate last year’s elections. Since the establishment of the company 13 years ago, no other predicament has been as alarming as this.

However, while the magnitude of the Russian interference in the US election using Facebook may be understandable, there have been concerns around the world that Facebook has not been keen on the abuse of some of its services. In some cases, the abuse of these services could prove to be a matter of life and death to the people involved. The persecution of the Rohingya Muslims is an example of how the abuse of Facebook services can be crucial. For starters, this is an ethnic minority that is located in Myanmar. Social media experts say that part of the violence against this minority has been exaggerated by propaganda that has been spread using Facebook about the minority. This is a serious issue considering that Myanmar uses Facebook as its primary source of news. This makes it easy for unfounded rumors and doctored photos to go viral on the social media network. As a matter of fact, the situation was serious because some of the photos were shared by the official military and government accounts. Myanmar is just an example of the problem surrounding Facebook as the problem is widespread. This has been worsened by the broadcasting and communication tools that have been developed by the company.

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